The durability and materials properties of perforated sheets give them an extremely versatile range of applications, such as inside cooling or heating appliances, as machine elements or in vehicle manufacturing. As engine housings for tractors, for instance, they are ideally suited for efficiently dissipating the heat generated by installed components. Through the so-called beading, the grooves that shape the hood, perforated sheets ventilate the engine and protect it from over heating. These days, engine hoods on modern tractors perform another essential function: as the primary visible surfaces, they make a significant contribution to the tractor brand being recognised. At Fendt, a company with a long tradition, both these functions are combined in a very special way: the lay-out of the grooves along the hood, which is so decisive for ventilation, also reflects the corporate design of this agricultural machines manufacturer.
Fendt tractors have been leading the market for years and in Germany, they are among the most popular. In the company’s over 80 year history, Fendt has always succeeded in launching ground breaking technological advances onto the market. Development, production and sales are all located at the Bavarian head office in Marktoberdorf. All in all, Fendt manufactures around 15,000 tractors a year, about a third of which are large-scale tractors. Their characteristic engine hoods are made from sheets manufactured by SCHÄFER Perforated Metal. Part of the internationally operating SCHÄFER Werke, this company has specialised in fulfilling almost all conceivable customer requirements regarding materials, perforation patterns, dimensions, machining and delivery.
To ensure the grooves guarantee both sufficient ventilation and the important design, the hoods must be deep-drawn and delivered in one piece. This is an important prerequisite for Fendt. Here, deep-drawing is one of the most important sheet metal forming processes. It’s not only used in mass production - in the automotive industry, for instance - but also for small-scale series. In this process, a sheet blank is formed into a hollow body, open at one side, in several stages by using punches, drawing rings or dies. The structure of the material, however, is not impaired at all. Quite the contrary; the shaping process actually improves the material properties. Deep drawn components actually gain additional stability.
The permeability of the perforated sheets on the characteristic Fendt engine hoods ensures that temperatures remain constant. The ventilation grille on the Fendt tractor types 800 and 900 Vario, for example, is a 1.0 mm thick perforated steel sheet with hexagonal, or honeycomb, perforations. The selected free area with 64% permeability enables a sufficient intake of cool air to pass over the engine with its sensitive electronic components and prevent it from overheating. On top of this, the perforated sheets are strong enough to protect the engine from any particles or debris that might be flung up, such as stones, plant residues or clumps of earth.
“A Fendt tractor is made up of around 10,000 component parts. Almost every single one flows directly into the production process. Deliveries are made Just-In-Sequence, meaning that the parts are made in the same order as they are needed on the assembly line. Delivery delays or poor quality from our partners is something we just can’t afford. At the same time, we must have the guarantee that our suppliers are technically capable of reproducing the visual elements that reflect our Corporate Design,” explains Wolfgang Geiger, Director of Purchasing at AGCO/Fendt in Marktoberdorf.
What he means by this are the grooves in the bonnet created by the deep drawing process. Whereas these grooves normally run almost at right angles downwards over the hood, they are slightly conical on Fendt tractor hoods, setting dynamic accents and providing them with an almost aerodynamic character. This eye-catching feature clearly sets Fendt tractors apart from their competitors on the market, simply because tractors can also be categorised according to so-called “visible surfaces”. These are then further divided into A, B and C categories, with engine guards and hoods belonging to category A. This is because they are noticed first of all and consequently, as the most conspicuous parts, they give the tractor its distinctive appearance.